Noon position 23 35S 151 29E
With the ship spending a few extra days in Gladstone, I took the opportunity to take a short break and went home for a few days, leaving the ship to Mike to look after. At Brisbane airport, while waiting for my connecting flight to Sydney, an announcement was made that our boarding would be late, due to the late arrival of the inbound aircraft. The reason given for the late arrival - headwinds. If Qantas cannot get a powerful 21st century jet in on time due to the weather, I think we have done well so far with our 16th century ship to only have missed one port so far on our voyage. My fellow passengers in the terminal gave groans and sighs at the announcement, a passage in our ship would give them an appreciation of the ease of modern travel. Mike and the crew got stuck into the maintenance, with plenty of oiling, painting and rigging work getting done in the lay days that the ship had. When we did open to the public, the ship proved as popular in Gladstone as in every other port, with over 2600 people visiting the vessel. We got great support from the Gladstone Port Authority, who made our stay here easy and convenient, many thanks to them. Departure day yesterday - we waited for the last of the flood tide to finish before getting underway shortly before 1300. Once clear of Auckland creek, we got under courses and topsails, the ebb tide and a NE'ly sea breeze combining to carry us down the harbour, named Port Curtis by Flinders in 1802 after "Admiral Sir Roger, who had commanded at the Cape of Good Hope and been so attentive to our wants." Flinders also noted the prominent Mt Larcom, "a conspicuous hill, in compliment to Captain Larcom, RN". As we sailed out we were overtaken close upon our lee side by the bunker barge Larcom, coming in to get photos of us. I wonder if Capt Larcom would be honoured to have a bunker barge named after him. We cleared the harbour about 1700 and stood out to the east, the vessel looking well up to windward in the flat water. Passing south of a dozen or so bulk carriers waiting at anchor for a berth at Gladstone we weathered Bustard head as the breeze died away into the evening. Slow progress in the early hours this morning until a light land breeze filled in out of the SW and we stood away to the north. This breeze freshened through the forenoon and hauled into the SE, as forecast, and Duyfken picked up the pace and ran away before it. Pleasant sailing as we head up for Cape Capricorn, named by Cook in 1770 - "I found this point to lay directly under the Tropic of Capricorn" We should pass this point later this afternoon and enters the tropics, bound for Mackay.